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Well Ordinance Update

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The County currently has instituted a well-permitting moratorium and is updating its well ordinance in response to evolving California case law that requires local governments to protect the health of rivers and other public trust resources.

To comply with a 2018 decision by the state Court of Appeal, the county will evaluate and require mitigation of impacts of well permits on public trust resources in navigable waterways, such as the Russian River, along with the habitat and wildlife they support, including the endangered Coho salmon.

Permit Sonoma expects to bring a revised ordinance to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors for consideration in the spring of 2023.

Technical and Policy Working Groups

Permit Sonoma is convening both a Policy Working Group and a Technical Working Group to aid in development of an updated well ordinance. The groups will assist in the development of a new framework for evaluation of environmental impacts during the review of permit applications for drilling new or replacement groundwater wells.

The Policy Working Group members represent diverse stakeholder interests and will make policy recommendations based on input from stakeholders and the Technical Working Group. The Policy Working Group will be comprised of:


Groups Represented

Mike Martini, Co-Chair

Ag and Development Interests

Rue Furch, Co-Chair

Sonoma County Water Coalition

Brock Dolman

Occidental Arts and Ecology Center

Monty Schmitt

Nature Conservancy

Charlie Schneider

Trout Unlimited

Ben Campanile

Well Driller

Sandi Potter

Petaluma Groundwater Sustainability Agency Administrator

Mike Sangiacomo

Vineyard Manager

Rob Cantu

North Coast Builders Exchange

Lisa Badenfort

North Bay Association of Realtors

Dayna Ghirardelli

Sonoma County Farm Bureau

Carolyn Wasem

North Bay Water District


The Technical Working Group will develop and assess policy recommendations using scientifically accepted theory, methods, and practices.


Groups Represented

Jay Jasperse

Water Resources Consultant

Retired - Sonoma County Water Agency

Sam Boland-Brien

California State Water Resources Control Board

Jessica Maxfield

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Rick Rogers

National Marine Fisheries Service

Andy Casarez

Office of the Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner

Marcus Trotta

Sonoma County Groundwater Sustainability Agencies

Matt Petersen

Well Driller

Laurel Marcus

Agricultural Practices

Brad Petersen

Vineyard Manager

Melissa Rohde

Environmental Consultant

Bruce Abelli Amen

Environmental Consultant

Ken Johnson

Environmental and geotechnical Consultant


Separate meetings of the Technical Working Group and Policy Working Group will take place on alternating weeks through February or March 2023.

Date Meeting  Meeting Number
11/17/22 Joint Working Groups

Meeting 1

11/30/22 Policy Working Group 

Meeting 1

12/01/22 Technical Working Group

Meeting 1

12/14/22 Policy Working Group

Meeting 2

12/15/22 Technical Working Group

Meeting 2

01/05/23 Technical Working Group

Meeting 3

01/11/23 Policy Working Group

Meeting 3

01/12/23 Technical Working Group

Meeting 4

01/25/23 Policy Working Group

Meeting 4

02/01/23 Joint Working Groups

Meeting 2

02/08/23 Policy Working Group

Meeting 5

02/09/23 Technical Working Group

Meeting 5

02/22/23 Policy Working Group

Meeting 6

02/23/23 Technical Working Group

Meeting 6

03/01/23 Joint Working Groups

Meeting 3

Past Meetings and Documents

October 4 – Board of Supervisors Hearing
Please direct public comments to:

September 22, 2022 – Well Ordinance Update Informational Town Hall
Permit Sonoma staff present information and answer questions on the proposed changes to Sonoma County's Well Ordinance slated to go before the Board of Supervisors on October 4, 2022.